Friday, October 31, 2008

All Saints Day & Barack Obama

Here it is the morning of the October 31, 2008. Making my way into work today my observations were how the sun was hanging on from getting out of the covers. The scud clouds that were overhead and acting as a backdrop to downtown towers and the light emerging from the dawn made a great image. Some images are to be taken and some are to be gathered in the mind and contemplated. Such it was this morning.

 

Of course, today is Hallowed Eves Day, which is the eve of All Saints Day. Hallow is an archaic term defined as a saint or holy person; one accorded respect. Hey, so what about All Saint’s Day? I don’t think there will be any news stories about it. I guess being good is not as much fun, huh?

 

However, I do remember the fun I would have as a kid collecting candy as I went door-to-door on a night like tonight.

We didn’t have much money, so costumes were always homemade. But, I always will remember that it snowed on October 31st. It was cold and it snowed.

I also this morning saw a number of costumed people going to work. The fun stuff I don’t mind, but I have a little problem with those that tweak on death and sorcerers. I suppose it wasn’t such a big deal to me when I didn’t have wisdom. For most people, it is just like that, they don’t know you don’t test with that part of the spiritual world. But, there are those who practice the occult, and today is their day. I saw a Wicca on the news last night, and she couldn’t be happier to see all the little witches and goblins getting dressed up for her day.

 

Looking ahead, we have the Big Event down below the 49 on Tuesday. I don’t know how you feel about John McCain; I suspect he is a good man, but I think he is hooped and pooped as far as this contest is concerned. He is going to take one for his party, although this will be his last political race. Sarah Palin will probably make a comeback, and with some experience maybe even get some traction for another nomination to the Executive. It just will be awhile.

 

Do I believe Barack Obama is the right man for this time? Yes. I believe that the footsteps through Selma have led to the moment where he will be made President. I believe George Bush had to precede him to make this happen. The idiocy of the previous administration was necessary to light an interest in democracy again; to help refuel the focus of a nation that has been led astray.

 

It is possible that the United States is on fumes as a world power. It’s not my prediction. Others like Gwynn Dyer stated so over four years ago. A malaise of complacency and moral decay has come over them (I think we have it in Canada too). There is no pioneering spirit in the Americas these days. We govern ourselves on what the other guy thinks – not all of us – rather than blazing a trail into new territory. Our politicos do much to appease the powerful and pay lip service to the other classes. We revel in our filth and call it culture.

 

Meanwhile China and India are definitely ascending by population and resources as world powers. They have the drive to succeed. Are they better than us? I am not comfortable to say one way or another to answer that question.

 

Having heard from a source inside China I would say that tiger is willing sacrifice a lot to get where it wants to be. A new world is being carved out as they catch up in a hurry. They have been so hunkered down under the shackles of Mao that what they are experiencing is like emerging from watery depths to gasp for a huge breathe. Greed and corruption dominate. Human rights and the environment are being thrown away. China has never known democracy. It has always been ruled by emperors of some kind. Presently, the Communist’s have succeeded in becoming the ruling class, and will likely play that role for some time to come. Their device will always be fear.  

 

India aspires for power because it sees itself as a great nation. It has shed the yoke of colonialism, while still maintaining itself as a stable democratic state. It certainly has the can-do attitude and doesn’t lack resources.

 

These are the countries that the United States needs to compete with, and they are going to need a person who can grasp that and not engage n war to get results. They are going to need a negotiator. I think its Obama.

 

 

JAPB

 

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Cellphone use and the driving issue

 

Read this on the Cbc.ca news blog:

 

The alarming prevalence of cell phone use EVERYWHERE indicates to me that we've lost our ability to be comfortable with our own thoughts and that we've confused blabbin' with communicating.

Technology vendors haven't had much trouble convincing us that we gotta be yakkiing or txting all the time to prevent those nasty, free-thinking little ideas from coming into our heads. Things like, oh, how much environmental burden these damn little things add to the planet, considering they are designed to be obsolete and disposable within a year or two.. It was very considerate of them to design phones that allow us to take pictures of those things we are too busy yapping on the phone to pause and appreciate in the present. And for those few moments when there might not be someone one the other end, there's always games and ringtones to fiddle with to keep us totally focused on their product. Gotta give cell phone marketing staff their due.

Why does talking on the cell phone become more important that talking with the people we're with? How many times have you see three kids walking thru the mall together all yakkin' on the phone to somebody else?

How did we suddenly come to have so much to say? We weren't all sticking around the house using the land line phone before cellphones. Is all of this conversation meaningful or is it just another vehicle for superficial gossipy drama? If all this talk never took place would anybody's life be irreparably damaged? My guess is NOT. The cell phone has not made the world a better, happier, more peaceful place.

For sure we should not be using cell phones while we drive. We should use them as little a possible. Make the effort to go visit in person, it's really quite nice.
Rant's over, thanks.”

 

I need to add nothing more.

 

JAPB

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Dervish.


Dervish.
Originally uploaded by Ryan Brenizer
Over on Flickr, my man Ryan Brenzier who is a commercial photographer, took this photograph on Saturday night.
He was at a wedding and things got exciting. i so like the intensity of the expression of the two dancers, and with Ryan's permission, wanted to share this image with you.

Isn't it great?

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Linda and Banff

Yesterday, October 4, was spent with my sister, Linda, in Banff. As she doesn't drive, and has little means to get there herself, Banff was a very different experience. Together we have been to Canmore; that was a couple of years ago, but we did not tour around much. This time as tour operator I made sure she saw it all.

We left Calgary around 9:30 AM. Stopped in Canmore for a stretch, a muffin and a coffee at Beamers. Arrived at the Banff gate around 11 AM. I immediately took Sister to the Lake Minnewanka area; pointed out the Bankhead where GGEH and I climbed the Level C Cirque several years ago. We proceeded to the dam itself and just beyond we found a lookout to get out and take some pictures. Here we bumped into a couple were from Ontario. Linda pressed for where they were from, and to her delight found they wer from Windsor. She had lived in that city for fifteen years. From an additional query she discovered the woman had lived but a block away from her at one time. This delighted Linda to the point where she was still musing about it some eight hours later.

We next travelled over to Two Jack lake. this was a new experience for me. I had some pleasure in capturing some images of Mt. Rundle from a new perspective.



Linda was most fascinated with the Cascade Falls. She asked how wide do you think the stream that fed the falls would be. What heights do you think that is. All good questions that wasn't able to answer. She wanted to make sure that she was able to get a photograph of it. So as we concluded the Lake Minnewanka Loop we came to a spot where I was able to pulll off the road and get a couple of snaps for her from my side ofthe vehicle.

We proceeded through the townsite and I took Linda to Bow Falls. The value of my stock as a brother increased dramatically at that point. I encouraged Linda to take her time getting photographs and just enjoying the scene. I went up the trail that rises above the falls for images. While doing so I encountered a couple of gals who were taking pictures of each other. I asked if they wanted a picture together, and they agreed to allow me to do so. What was neat about this experience was their camera. Although it was just a consumer P&S, it had a neat feature that I am sure is built on face-recognition software. As I set up the shot, two little squares started to immediately line up on their faces so they'd be in focus. I took the snap and gave it back to them. However, I forgot to find out what brand of camera it was I'd used. Darn. I could see how important this camera would be for teenagers (these gals were in their twenties).


Shortly after this event I encounter some older people who were going a little mor eitme to get down the steps. As I patiently followed them I was noticed. One of the party remarked that I could around if I wanted I said it was okay, I was in no rush. I said to her that patience is a virtue. She then added, "that Women have little and Men have none." I had never heard that before. I was amused. I guess that puts me into good stead. Somedays I can out wait grass growing.

I took Linda up to the Banff Springs Hotel. this was new to me as well. But, there really wasn't a place that we could stop and get out. It was a wash in people and busy-ness. It was about then that it started to rain too. So we sort of just cruised by the hotel. Quite an impressive structure.

Linda had been talking about riding the Sulphur Mountain gondola all week leading up to this day. That was our next destination. On the way i showed her the RimRock, and told her about the Upper Hot Springs. We got to the parking lot of the Gondola, whereupon she had an ephiany. Seeing one gondola lurch and do a swing on the cable convinced her on the spot she would not beable to ride on it. She said it looked too frightening and unstable. Hey, that's okay. I probably would have enjoyed the ride myself, but i don't even do the Midway at Stampede. We then had to decide what was next on the list.

Cave and Basin. I had never understood until we toured it that this is where the whole concepts of Canada's national parks began. After the hot springs were discovered in the late 1800's everybody wanted in the action. Concern for the protection of the source of the water drove the federal government's decision to nationalize it, which led to the idea of a public park and a tourist destination for the Canadian Pacific Railway to promote.

Linda at first seemed a little daunted by the approach of the exhibit on account that it was a bit of a climb to get there. She was getting a bit tired. But she tackled it like a good trooper. Once inside she was really intrigued by the whole complex. We toured the cave and spent some time on the deck of what was the original bathing pool.I located the Basin and had Linda join me to admire the colours and the bubbles of the gas rising through the water. I found the "stink" of the sulphur a little much. I was also a little nervous by the proximity of the little children being taken through the Basin area by their parents. There is no guardrail or other kind of protection other than a parents hand that would have stopped a child from falling in. while nothing happened it left me feeling uneasy. I had to leave. Linda was a little more outspoken to parents about the situation than I was. I repeat, I had to leave.Overall , Linda said she really enjoyed the tour.

We decided to help the local economy next by doing some shopping. I generally don't do retail in Banff (well, where can you do wholesale for that matter?) There is not much I cannot get in Banff that I cannot get anywhere else. Except, good rocks and gemstones. I hardly ever pass through the town with out checking out Canada Rock & Gems on Main Street. This time there was anew player on the street, Rock, Paper and Silver. I checked them out too. I thought about getting a ring. I normally don't where rings. But it was intriguing for a moment. Looking a the selection I couldn't decide what was appropriate: an index or pinky ring. The selection in each store was expensive, and I'll just say that was what convinced me to not proceed. I thought about getting a rock to display in my living room, but I reminded myself I hadn't dusted in weeks. So I didn't need another object'd art to collect more dust (for the moment). It doesn't need to be this difficult I said to myself. Let's shop for something that's less controversial. I headed over to Welch's Candy Shoppe.

Oh yes, much easier. Some taffy, some maple syrup, some licroice and can I have some of those sherbert hard candies too? I will not report how much I spent, except to say less than a pinky ring.

I had sent Linda in a different direction. Pointing out some places she may want to try. When we met uup at the car a shortwhile later, she had picked up a few t-shirts for a friend and his wife.

We were now ready to wrap up our visit to Banff. One of the most important reason for Siset and i to come here was not to be tourists. Each year we try to get together a week before Thanksgiving and spend time as a family. She recognizes that I have friends who usually invite me out on Thanksgiving Day. She wants me to enjoy that time (ain't she an angel?). So our time together in advance compensates for actually being away on T-Day. We always try to find an interesting place to have our Thanksgiving meal. It hasn't always worked out. One time Linda picked a restaurant that turned out to be a poolside lounge in Motel Village in Calgary. I would count that as our worst experience.

This day we chose Bumpers. We arrived early without a reservation, and enjoyed a booth. We gave thanks to God for a wonderful year together as a family, and thanked Him for the fellowship we had been able to experience in Banff. We placed our orders (our waiter was quite congenial); I had the Mountain Stew and Linda had a burger. I highly recommend the stew. Not many restaurants serve a stew -- the Montana's chain does in Calgary. I can heartily say that Bumper's stew beats 'em all. It's made with a red wine sauce tha tgives it a bold flavlour. the menu says there soem exotic spices added to the dish. But, its not spicy, just flavourful and in a subtle way. There is a salad bar that is included with each meal. I think it alone was probably enough. I don't think Weight Watchers would have given their seal to the combo. The coffee is good. We didn't need dessert.

We left Banff around 6:45 PM.

I have to state my gratitude to Dick and Ruby Klumpenhower for lending us their Dodge Caravan for the trip. It really made a difference. Linda was comfortable; not something she finds with my smaller Saturn car. The back end gave us plenty of room to bring along her walker. I also enjoyed using the van's cruise control on the return leg of the trip. I was really impressed how the program governs going up and down hills. i will definitely want to have that on my next car. We got back into Calgary around 7:45 - 8 PM. We had a great day.